29 August 2010

Pakistan players face criminal convictions if guilty

It's normally good to see cricket dominating the Sunday papers at this stage of the summer when football seems to take over 95% of sports coverage in England. But sadly cricket is in the news for all the wrong reasons this morning as it is alleged Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif have delivered no balls to order and that skipper Salman Butt has discussed playing overs out for maidens in return for money.

What an absolute nightmare for the sport if it is true - if the players aren't convicted through police channels then the expectation will be that strong action will be taken by the games' authorities. Either way, the game will be markedly weaker as the best bowling attack in the game is likely to be decimated, and cricket's most turbulent nation will be robbed of their latest skipper.

I'm not a fan of journalists creating news rather than reporting it, but you can view the News of The World undercover video here.


Anonymous said...

I believe the only bookmakers who accept spot bets of this type are illegal anyway- so it may be difficult to press criminal charges.

I don't like Murdoch or the NOTW but I don't think they were making news here; rather they had a suspicion that certain players were for sale so tried to catch them at it.

Assuming the allegations stick, I feel sad that Amir (the great hope for the future) got sucked into this.

It's quite funny that PK have managed to make a total pig's ear of even this. Even without the NOTW sting the noball looked so suspicious anyway. Time in the nets required for both legitimate and illegitimate cricketing skills.

Matt G

Ed said...

I haven't forgiven the News of The World for their sting on Sven shortly before the 2006 World Cup Matt. If you assume that the nation wants to win the World Cup then there is no way the story could be deemed "in the national interest". So anything that involves a reporter going undercover is a step too far me - suspicions should be reported to the police and the eventual arrests after a police investigation should be reported. The paper can still claim they tipped the police off if the want the recognition....

Andrew said...

Tough one. I am definitely with you in the camp that says that journalists should not make news, and the Sven story, and even more so, the Lord Triesman story, were classic examples of that.

However, this is less clear-cut, as it is not just a case of trying to entrap someone into saying something controversial (a la Triesman), but is capturing alleged actual wrongdoing. Sven and Triesman weren't doing anything actually wrong, whereas here the NOTW is claiming to have identified activity that is at worst illegal, and at best against the rules of the sport. So where do you draw the line? There is a large moral grey area.

What will be of interest is how well the NOTW evidence stacks up under scrutiny. Whilst it looks damming at the moment, the fallout from their previous such sting, on snooker player John Higgins, is still rumbling on, and there are suggestions that they have been economical with the truth about what was actually said on the incriminating video. You can get a picture of those discrepancies here:

Ed said...

Very interesting Miz - I hadn't realised that there were issues over the Higgins "evidence".

Whether the evidence is legit in this case or not, I find it strange that people are calling for the players not to play for Pakistan. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and they haven't been found guilty yet, so should play, in my opinion. The only caveat to that is if they don't want to play because they can't focus properly given the allegations, or if the team management deem that their selection will decrease their chances of winning given the off-field distractions.